Here are 11 things you can do in Signal to keep your chats safe. Although some functions are also available on WhatsApp but they are not as effective.
Signal vs WhatsApp
Register on Signal using a virtual phone number
Signal does not track your contact book or link your phone number to create your digital profile.
Though, a phone number is required for initial registration, but you can use a virtual phone number to verify the OTP. You can use any virtual phone number app like TextNow to register on Signal, then activate a PIN to take control of your account.
Display Picture and name
While signing up on Signal, do not put your own photo as a display photo and do not use your real name to ensure the highest level of privacy.
You can also do this on WhatsApp, but since you have been using WhatsApp for so long, the metadata is already stored and linked to your digital profile. So, if you suddenly decide to change your name and photo, it would be less effective.
Enable PIN and Registration lock
Your signal account is not linked to your phone number. The advantage of using Signal is that the account is linked to a PIN code that only you know. This makes it difficult to track users.
For added security, go to your privacy settings and enable ‘Registration lock’. This prevents unauthorised access to your Signal account from another device.
Disable ‘Use system contact photos’ option
Under Appearance settings, find the ‘Use system contact photos’ and disable it. This will prevent images from your default contact book from showing up on Signal.
Disable Read receipts and enable ‘Always Relay Calls’ option
Deactivate the option “Read receipts” under “Privacy settings” and activate the option “Always Relay Calls” to prevent exposing your IP address to your contact. Disabling read receipts simply removes unwanted metadata information.
Disable ‘Show Calls in Recents’ option
If you are using an iPhone, go to your privacy settings and turn off “Show calls in Recent.” This will prevent all Signal voice and video calls from appearing in the call history.
Set ‘Screen timeout’ to 1 minute
To prevent unwanted access to chat, set the ‘Screen timeout’ to at least 1 minute to lock your Signal app and prevent unwanted access to other people.
Go to the privacy settings and uncheck the “Allow from everyone” option. This prevents unknown people from contacting you through Signal.
Disable ‘Debug Log’
Under Advanced settings, disable Debug log for additional privacy.
Verify safety number of each contacts
Make sure to verify each contact on Signal before you start chatting with them.
Enable disappearing messages and set timer
The disappearing messages feature works much better on Signal than it does on WhatsApp.
Even if one party has this option enabled, the other party is obliged to follow it. This makes it effective and you can set the message to disappear to a minimum of 5 seconds. This will simply delete the message after you have seen it for 5 seconds.